Siete quiThe massacre of the 10th September 1944
The massacre of the 10th September 1944
After the Armistice of 8th September 1943 armed and civil resistance developed in this war torn land as a result of the harsh German occupation and increasingly difficult living conditions. This resistance won the Province of Massa-Carrara the Medaglia d’Oro al Valor Militare (the Gold Medal for Military Valour) and the Medaglia d’Oro al Merito Civile (the Gold Medal for Civilian Merit) for the Comune di Massa (Massa’s Town Council). In memory of this the Council and the European Community have reawakened these memories.
- Don Giorgio Bigongiari,the vice parish priest of Lunata near Lucca.
- Don Lorenzo Gori temporary parish priest of Pieve di Camaiore, originally from Livorno.
- Don Giuseppe Bertini, parish priest of Molina di Quosa, Lucca.
- The cleric Renzo Tognetti, arrested on the 12th of August 1944 at Valdicastello by the SS as they were returning from Sant’Anna di Stazzema where they had massacred about 400 civilians. Professor Guglielmo Lippi Francesconi the head of Maggiano’s psychiatric hospital (Lucca) and others rounded up in Versillia and held in Massa’s Malaspina castle since the 1st of September.
There were also 10 monks and 7 civilians captured at Certosa di Farneta (Lucca) on the 1st and 2nd of September 1944. They were “guilty” of having given help to Jews, Partisans, unwilling conscripts and those wanted for various reasons by the fascist republican authorities or the Germans. The murdered monks included Pio Maria Egger (Swiss) Certosa’s novices’ teacher and Gabriele Maria Costa the Procurator of Certosa who was posthumously awarded the medaglia d’oro al valor militare (the gold medal for military valour) in recognition of his collaboration with the Resistance.
The assassination of the monks and clerics showed the antichristian hatred of the men of the SS division whose ruthless actions towards the men of the cloth, due to their solidarity with a community hit by the brutality of the German occupation and “natural opposition” to the racist and totalitarian Nazi regime. The choice of day for the massacre, a Sunday, the Lord’s day for Christians, can thus be considered highly symbolic and not accidental.
At that time Massa was suffering the last of the SS’s reign of terror in Northern Tuscany. The liquidation of the prisoners on the 10th of September was effected in the same way as those men of Laiano di Filettole, between Lucca and Pisa, where some days previously, on the 28th of August 1944, before moving North, the Germans killed 37 people they had rounded up in the preceding weeks.
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